Olivia Dish

Posts Tagged ‘Homemade’

Cronut in a Can?

In Homemade, Sweets, Taste Tests on July 7, 2013 at 9:38 pm

Could these become cronuts?

The trademarked treats are supposed to taste like fried heaven. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to get your hands on one of these $5 sugar bombs unless you wake at dawn and wait in line at the bakery for two hours. Or pay a scalper.”

–Anne Kadet in The Wall Street Journal

I’ve read about the cronut craze and wondered what could possibly be so great about a hunk of fried dough…..so great that people wait in block-long lines and fight with each other.

So great that the creator has trademarked the name.

A name that, by the way, left me cold.  Cronut.  Too much like Cro Magnon man.  Crone. Crows gone wild. Croak.

For years, I’ve made trashy donuts from canned biscuits.  As I saw yet another story about these things, I wondered:

If a cronut was a croissant that’s been friend like a donut, could I make trashy cronuts (or to be safe, perhaps I should say croughnuts) from crescent rolls in a can?

If so, then this whole thing might genuinely amuse me.

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Too Sweet, By Half

In Homemade, Sweets, Taste Tests on December 14, 2012 at 12:37 am

Would Jeni’s ice cream be as splendid with half the sugar?

I wrote a while back about making Backyard Mint ice cream as instructed by the Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home recipe book.

The results were mixed: I loved the scoopability but didn’t like how sweet it was.

In fact, it was so sweet that I didn’t bother making it again. Or experimenting with it.

I just went back to my old standby recipe, one I liked pretty darned much as it was.

Then a few days ago, I found a comment under the Jeni’s post.

Nadya wrote:

I was just wondering if you’ve tried a version with less sugar since?? I received this book as a gift and have tried two recipes so far. They both have been overwhelmingly sweet for my taste, but i did enjoy the creamy texture. Any luck cutting some of the sugar out?

I wasn’t alone! Someone else found the recipes too sweet. I was finally inspired to try cutting the sugar, to see what happened.

So I pulled out the book, got my hands on some fresh mint, and gave it another go.

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Wheatless Pancakes

In Homemade on September 30, 2012 at 1:56 pm

Making a gluten-free pancake with the stuff I had around. First ingredient, potatoes.

After years of mocking the gluten-free craze, I learned recently that my sister has full-on celiac disease.

My sister’s doctor thought she had thyroid cancer.  The problem, it turns out, was gluten. Looking at our family history, it’s likely my grandmother and father had celiac disease, too.

My sister, the cake baker, has had to give up wheat.  If she accidentally eats something with gluten, she gets really sick.  In part to see what she’s up against….and in part to see if I could benefit, I’ve been trying to go wheat free for the last several weeks.  I’m now acting like the picky eaters I’ve been mocking, reading labels to suss out the gluten

Though I feel thinner, I don’t believe that gluten makes me sick.

I hope not. Like most people, I like my breads and cakes and beer.

And pancakes.

This morning, I woke up craving pancakes.  I was on the brink of breaking the wheat fast when it occurred to me I might be able to stir up an alternative.

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Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream

In Cookbooks, Homemade, Sweets, Taste Tests on August 1, 2012 at 6:28 pm

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams At (my) Home

I knew from the moment I saw it that I would eventually buy the Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home recipe book.

I’m a bit of an ice cream making nut, myself.

I’ve also been to Jeni’s original shop in Columbus‘s North Market.

I’ve been reading about this woman and the magic she works for years.

Maybe you, like me, expect homemade ice cream to be different from store-bought stuff–not as scoopable, say, but the flavor makes up for it.

Jeni has experimented–and studied chemistry–to fine-tune her recipes, so that you can have your flavor-packed homemade ice cream and scoop it too.

The recipes work.  Everyone says so.

But….do I like the ice cream?

I bought Jeni’s book this week. I thought the best place to start was comparing her version of fresh mint ice cream to the recipe I’ve worked out on my own over the years.

I had plenty of mint growing in my backyard, ready for Jeni’s Backyard Mint.

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Salad ReMix

In Homemade, Local Flavor on July 11, 2012 at 5:15 pm
salad wrap

Lettuce now wrap leftover salad…

Making a large salad for a crowd has its drawbacks–chiefly, for me, what to do with the soggy leftovers the next day.

I’ve written food TV segments that recommended you turn that mess into a stir fry, but the truth is, I never thought the results were very good.

Somehow, in a moment of bumbling inspiration, I have hit upon a perfect use for leftover salad–a use I like so much that I am now making up fresh leftover salad just so I can have this dish: leftover salad lettuce wraps.

If you have leftover salad, you can mince it up and stuff it into fresh lettuce leaves.

Or you can make it even tastier, by starting fresh like this:

An array of sprouts from City Roots farm

Put some greens in a bowl.  I like a mix of lettuce and micro greens such as sunflower sprouts and broccoli sprouts.  Shredded carrots are nice too. Read the rest of this entry »

Perfect Strawberry Sherbet

In Homemade, Local Flavor, Sweets on June 11, 2012 at 3:55 pm

Get me a Biore pore strip–those seeds have got to go!

I hate the seeds on the outside of strawberries.

I always wish I could use one of those pore cleansing strips and rip them off.

And when I’ve made ice cream with the seedy things, not only have I despised the texture but I’ve always found the taste to be a sort of cloying sick-sweet.  Maybe I’ve had too much medicine in my life that tasted of strawberries.

You might wonder why I bothered, then, to make my own strawberry sherbet.

I’m not sure.

I kept watching other people at the farmers’ market buy fresh local strawberries.  They were so durned happy about it.  I wanted some of that happy for myself, I guess.

So, I systematically (well sort of systematically and sort of haphazardly) started to address the things that make me go ick.

Step 1: seed removal.  I wanted to use fresh strawberries, not cook them, so I macerated a batch in a little brown sugar and pureed them in the food processor.  I strained the whole mess through fine mesh and extracted their thick, juicy, seedless essence.

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The Devil’s Pancakes

In Bacon Grease, Homemade on June 10, 2012 at 11:03 am

Cornmeal and whey pancake in my trusty cast iron skillet.

Coming up with a recipe for the best pancakes of your life isn’t necessarily a good thing.

Unfortunately, I realized this a little too late.

To resist the mighty temptation of pancakes every day, I’ve had to institute limits for myself.

You might want to think how you’ll  control yourself, if you’re going to read on and give these a try.

My favorite pancake recipe of all time is a fairly recent invention, inspired by a few of my other food-related passions–finding a use for leftovers, making my own cheese, and seeking out something more interesting than white flour for making bread stuff.

This latest concoction uses cornmeal and whole wheat flour, bacon drippings, and whey left from making goat cheese.

The result is a pancake so flavorful, so tender, you could skip the butter and maple syrup.

I don’t.  But you could.

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1001 Uses for Bacon Fat

In Bacon Grease, Homemade on May 30, 2011 at 12:37 pm
chilled and shaped

Bacon drippings, shaped and chilled

Some late night experiences leave you with regrets.  And some, it seems, leave you with an abundance of bacon drippings.  A friend and I have taken up the habit of making a bacon snack around midnight.

Caw Caw Creek bacon

Good bacon, good bacon fat

We have a fondness for bacon from Caw Caw Creek.  And every bit as good as the bacon is the fat that’s rendered when we cook it.

For a while now, I’ve been experimenting with ways to use all those tasty bacon drippings–something beyond the way my mother uses them to season vegetables and for pan frying.  When we were kids, my sisters used bacon drippings instead of Hawaiian Tropic at the beach one day.  As people walked by, they’d say things like, “Does it smell like breakfast out here to you?”  In more recent times, I’ve saturated newspaper with bacon grease and used it to start my charcoal grill.

But I knew that was a waste of awesome flavor, so I started to wonder how I might use bacon grease for deep frying or in baked goods in place of lard.

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Stovetop Mac ‘n’ Brie

In Homemade on February 8, 2011 at 7:45 am

When there's no cheddar in the house....

A few years ago, I wrote a Food Network show that posed the potentially world-changing question: could you make real mac ‘n’ cheese on the stovetop that was (almost) as quick and easy as breaking open a box of Kraft?  And could that homemade version satisfy a box-mac-n-cheese-loving kid?


Brie, on a board made by Maine prison inmates.

I’m not the biggest mac ‘n’ cheese fan, and I like it baked with some of the noodles on top browned and crunchy, the way my grandmother made it.

It was lunchtime on a cold, rainy day and for some reason, I craved macaroni and cheese.   There was no cheddar in the house.  I wasn’t going to the market, and I was too hungry to wait around for an oven concoction.

I did have a huge hunk of mediocre brie in my fridge, a cheese so average I could barely bring myself to eat it. And bowtie pasta, eggs, butter, and milk. Could I make a brie version of stovetop mac ‘n’ cheese? Macaroni and brie?

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My Darling Clementines

In Homemade, Sweets on January 16, 2011 at 10:54 pm

Standing by to make citrus reticulata sherbetus

Clementines are that bit of sunshine that gets you through the winter, I’ve decided.

For years, when I’ve spent winter weeks in Paris, I’ve loved that I could buy bottles of deep orange clementine juice at the corner grocery. At home, clementines are everywhere come December, in their cute little crates, making them a great fruit treat to take to a dinner host (surpassed for me as a “hostess” gift only by the pineapple).

I’d bought a crate for myself and had been enjoying daily salads made of sunflower sprouts tossed with clementine wedges and toasted almonds, drizzled with a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Then a family crisis forced me to be out of town for some weeks. When I returned, the clementines needed to be consumed or we’d have to just say goodbye.

Before the crisis, I’d though I might try making clemoncello–a variation on limoncello with clementines. But I wasn’t in the mood to bother with it. Life had already become too difficult, at least for the moment.  I was exhausted just by the thought of trudging over to the liquor store to buy Everclear.

So I decided to make a simple sherbet with my aging clementines.
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